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Home Alarm Sales Scams – Even in Winter, Beware the Alarm Salesperson Knocking at Your Door

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January 25, 2012
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Home Alarm Sales Scams – Even in Winter, Beware the Alarm Salesperson Knocking at Your Door

They don’t call them “door knockers” for nothing. They are as persistent as they are insistent, and they’re trained to keep on pushing until you say “No” at least nine times! Only then might they leave you alone, if you haven’t already signed on the dotted line. And while they are busier in the summer months, even in winter you can find them in neighborhoods all across the US. Take Boise, ID, where the local Better Business Bureau (BBB)recently had the following advice for homeowners.

Based on the level of phone activity at Better Business Bureau, flies, spiders and rodents aren’t the only pests trying to get in your house as winter sets in. BBB is helping Boise police sound the alarm about suspicious door-to-door home-security sales. A salesman knocked on doors, telling people that there was a recent break-in the neighborhood. After striking fear that burglars were lurking in wait for the right opportunity, the man offered to perform a “house security check.” He told one homeowner, “It’s important to keep you safe.”

We know the tactics these companies use all too well. In fact, here is one of the best articles you can find on door knocking home alarm sales.

Smart Homeowners Don’t Let Them In

According to an email alert from Boise Crime Prevention Officer Charlene Miller, one resident who called the Police Department said the man covered up the card on the lanyard around his neck when she asked what business he represented, and he would not answer questions. Fortunately, the woman did not allow the man in her home. To top it off, there were no recent reports of burglaries in the neighborhood.

Some are not salespeople at all. They're just impersonators trying to find out about any existing alarm system you have. They may ask to come inside to inspect your home. What they're really doing is casing it for a possible burglary.

Not Just Alarm Sales

Security-system sales aren’t the only area of concern. BBB has heard from a number of people about door-to-door activities including free carpet cleaning, packaged meat, magazine subscriptions and vacuum sales. Door-to-door sales are legitimate as long as the people knocking on your door are obeying the law and are honest and transparent about who they are, who they represent and what they’re trying to sell.

Four Great Tips from the BBB

  1. Don’t let a stranger in your home. Even if your neighborhood is under attack from raiding, spear-throwing marauders, don’t let the salesperson through the door. Thieves are known to pose as salesmen to case a house they may be planning to burglarize.
  2. Ask the salesperson for written material about the company and let him or her know you are going research the company before making a purchase. Check the company's BBB Business Review at
  3. Ask to see the city-issued solicitor’s permit for door-to-door sales. This is most often where the salesperson will start backpedaling. I’ve heard, “Um, it’s in my truck.” When I told her to go get it, she said, “Well, I forgot it in my bag at the office.” People must carry the permits with them if they are selling inside city limits. [Check your city for local requirements.]
  4. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. Note: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Cooling-Off Rule gives buyers a three-business-day period to cancel a purchase.

By the way, here’s a link to a separate warning on home alarm sales, issued directly be the FTC. One important piece of advice I’ll add to the BBB list is ask about safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive services – and what they really cost – since you want the best services, and because door knocker companies generally charge a premium price for equipment and monthly fees.

FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we don’t plan to sell that way in the future. That’s only part of why FrontPoint has an “A” rating with the BBB – instead of an “F,” like some door knocker companies. The best home security customers are the people who are looking for a system in the first place, and with home security expanding to including to include remote video, interactive features, and even control of light, locks, and thermostats, it’s no wonder that demand is increasing. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. That’s what makes FrontPoint the #1 choice in the US and Canada for interactive, wireless home security. And it also explains why we have the highest customer loyalty in the business. Just read the FrontPoint reviews!

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